Picture yourself gliding effortlessly across a carpet of ice as smooth as marble. Twirling, spinning and leaping into the air in a series of dizzying flips and loops…
Can’t quite see it, eh? Don’t worry, Britain’s seasonal ice rinks welcome everyone from experts to absolute beginners and those of us with two left feet and a fear of the cold. Here are 10 of the most beautifully located.
Tower of London, England
Get your skates on and head to London and one of Britain’s most famous landmarks. Skate beneath the ramparts, towers and battlements of this spectacular Norman fortress, home of the crown jewels, historic arms and armour and nearly 1, 000 years of British history.
Somerset House, London, England
One of the most beautiful skating backdrops in Britain, Somerset House is the neoclassical arts venue sitting between the Thames and the Strand in London. You’ll find the ice rink in the courtyard overlooked by the gorgeous Tiffany Christmas tree. This year you can enjoy spiced mulled wine in the cool and cosy Skate Lounge, lunchtime workouts and even winter-themed club nights.
Eden Project, Cornwall, England
Warm up in Eden’s mighty greenhouses before chilling out on the ice at Cornwall’s Eden Project. Eden’s ice rink has a glacier theme and is part of their ‘Time of Gifts’ celebrations which include lantern parades, live music and storytelling.
Winchester Cathedral, England
Winchester’s ice rink is set in the atmospheric surrounds of Winchester’s Christmas market next to the 11th-century cathedral. Show off your moves on the ice then enjoy hearty mountain casseroles, sweet and savoury strudels, homemade soup, mulled wine and hot chocolate at the Ice Rink Café.
Cardiff’s outdoor ice rink is the centrepiece of Cardiff’s Christmas celebrations. And if you’re not keen on the skating you can always take refuge in the heated spectators’ terrace, ride on the Ferris Wheel and fill up on mulled wine from the ice café bar.
Take to the ice on graceful George Square, the setting for Glasgow’s outdoor ice rink and a whole programme of free, festive entertainment from film nights and live music to community theatre and carol singing.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Skate on one of Europe’s biggest open-air ice rinks below Edinburgh’s ancient castle and take in Edinburgh’s unique skyline lit up for Christmas. You can also enjoy a whole host of wintry activities including festive music, theatre and seasonal food and drink.
Nottingham is hosting one of the biggest outdoor ice rinks this year on the historic Old Market Square in the middle of town. Check out the imposing backdrop of the Council House and twirl beneath the twinkling Christmas lights.
Spinningfields, Manchester, England
Not far from Manchester’s lively centre, the Spinningfields ice rink is the perfect partner to a spot of Christmas shopping. And when you’ve had a spin on the ice, retire to the Moose bar for a restorative tipple. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the vodka infused Winter Crumble.
Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, England
You won’t find many ice rinks in a more romantic location than Hampton Court Palace. Skate beneath the stars outside Henry VIII’s favourite royal palace and savour the historic flavour at this Thames-side icon.